Plumeria are happiest in tropical environments.

How to Plant Plumeria Using Perlite

by Megan Martin

Plumeria (Plumeria rubra, P. obtusa) is a native tropical plant with white, yellow, red or pink flowers often seen in Hawaii. Although it starts as a small plant, plumeria can reach tree proportions if allowed to thrive. It can be grown in U.S. Department of Agricultural plant hardiness zones 9 to 11. Planting small plumeria is a delicate operation. Using perlite in planting helps lighten soil and urges young roots to establish themselves.

Select a container that is the right size for your plumeria. Remember that a larger container will allow plumeria to grow larger, while a smaller container will keep it smaller. Use a 1-gallon pot for a 2- to 3-foot plumeria plant.

Spread a layer of gravel or broken clay pot pieces on the bottom of the container. This will assist with proper drainage.

Mix together 1 part perlite, 1 part coir or peat moss, 1 part manure or compost and 1 part pumice inside the gallon pot. Mix thoroughly to evenly distribute the ingredients and create a high-quality potting soil. Avoid disrupting the clay or gravel pieces.

Dig a hole large enough to hold the base of the plumeria, using your hands or a spade. Pot the plumeria at a depth where it stands in enough soil that it is stable and will not tip over and where it can receive nourishment from the soil through its roots. Check to see that the plant height is aesthetically pleasing to you. Add potting mix as needed to fill in space around the plant and achieve good stability.

Water the potted plant until water comes out the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again. Plumeria prefer drier soil.

Sprinkle a fertilizer mix containing 2 tablespoons of bone meal and 2 tablespoons of potash on top of the soil if you plant it in spring. Fertilize with this blend each week until the second week in August and then discontinue fertilizing. Every fourth week, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of epsom salt to the fertilizer. Wait until April to fertilize if you have not planted in spring.

Place the plumeria pot in an area where it will get half a day of sun. Red plumeria, however, should receive no more than 6 hours of sunlight per day to avoid fading leaves.

Items you will need

  • Pot
  • Gravel or broken clay pot
  • Perlite
  • Peat moss
  • Manure or compost
  • Pumice
  • Spade
  • Watering can
  • Bone meal
  • Potash
  • Epsom salt

About the Author

Megan Martin has more than 10 years of experience writing for trade publications and corporate newsletters as well as literary journals. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images